At last week’s Miami International Boat Show, something happened that I had not seen in many, many years. A vendor new to the U.S. market was displaying a 26-foot sport racer-cruiser, with a full performance rig and a full interior for $39,500. When was the last time you saw a production cruiser or racer-cruiser that you could sleep on, that has an enclosed head, a working galley, a drop leaf table in the saloon and a huge double berth for under $100,000? The Viko S26 was less than half of that.
Welcome to the world of Viko Yachts from Poland, a production builder that has only one North American dealer, in Canada, but has plans to spread their low cost, simple and modern boats across the continent, starting with the Viko S 26.
The boat is like a blast from the past, from the halcyon days of sailing when it was not only possible but normal to spend about an average annual salary on a new family cruising boat. Imagine that! In the Sixties and Seventies, families across America got into sailing because they could afford to. Sure, the boats were simple, and there were few electronic gadgets to add, few home entertainment doodads to install, limited refrigeration and no need for high output alternators, gensets and solar panels.
The new S 26 has a roomy cockpit, a tiller with an extension so you can sit on the coaming while steering, and a handy mainsheet. There is no built-in engine so you have an outboard on a bracket aft for those few minutes a day when you need to motor into an anchorage or up to a dock.
The cabin has the enclosed head aft and to port and the galley across from it. It come with Port-a-Potty but you could easily install a proper head and small holding tank. The huge double berth is aft and under the cockpit and is plenty large enough for two American-size adults.
The centerboard trunk is in the middle of the saloon with bench settees on both sides. The table’s leaves fold up and make room for four to dine together. The V-berth forward is a bit small but will be fine for one adult or two children. Plus the settees are big enough to sleep on. If you don’t mind a crowd, you could actually sleep four adults and two children overnight.
The décor is modern but Viko uses handsome wood veneers and sold word trim on doors and cabinets. The boat does not look cheap; instead, it looks comfortable, simple and practical.
Viko has dealers all over Europe and delivers more than 200 boats to new owners every year. They build the S sport line that includes a 20, 22, 26, 30 and 35. The 30 and 35 compare to any similar size cruisers on the market and at about half the price. They have designs for a new 40 footer and a 50 footer all done and will be introducing the boats in the year ahead. Plus they have a trailer cruisier line and a motorboat line.
If you are looking for a practical, simple, fine-sailing boat for you and your family at price you can afford, then check out Viko online at www.vikoyachts.com. And, if you want to become a dealer and know the marine business, they are looking for representation in America.